I'm A Mom With 3 Kids Under The Age Of 5, And I'm Running For Congress

by Jennifer Herold
Nichole Duff / N.D. Photography

My name is Jennifer Herold. I’m a mom to three amazing children: Ben (age 4), Alex (age 3), and Isabelle (age 9 months).

Nichole Duff / N.D. Photography

And I’m running for Congress.

As a fellow mom, I’m pretty sure I know your first thought: You have three kids under 5? How the hell are you going to have enough time to run for Congress?

My answer is pretty simple: My country needs me. Truth be told, it needs you too (more on that in a moment). And my entire family is coming along for this crazy, exciting journey. I promise you, this family-oriented campaign will be unlike anything else we’ve seen in American politics.

Now, some of you may remember that this isn’t my first foray into politics. I ran as a Republican for an Ohio House of Representatives seat last year. When I looked at the makeup of the party, I thought they would be eager to add a young, educated, family-oriented female to diversify their ranks. However, my local chairman was anything but welcoming and made me strongly rethink where I belonged politically. I haven’t changed who I am, but what I found was that my values truly align with the Democratic Party. Both the party and I believe we are stronger when we work together, that we are all equal, and everyone deserves a fair shot in life.

I don’t need to tell you that our country is a mess. You can feel the divisiveness and negativity that has sadly covered America like a dark cloud. That tone has been set by those at the very top of our government. When we look at our representatives in Washington, what do we see? Well, what I see, with few exceptions, are politicians who aren’t listening to us. They are completely out of touch, and they’re not even trying to fake it anymore.

Nichole Duff / N.D. Photography

Honestly, most of these “representatives” have no idea about the struggles we face because they haven’t lived them. They don’t know what it’s like to see half your paycheck go to pay child care (which you need just in order to work). They don’t see how our employer-provided health care plans have doubled and tripled in cost over the last decade. Student loan debt? Not even on their radar, even though its our country’s next economic bubble waiting to burst.

But why should we think they would know anything about what we face every day? These are people who have been in the insulated bubble of your State Capitol or Washington, DC, their entire adult lives. They make policy based upon hypotheticals of what they think life is like for us. So why do we keep voting for them? Mostly because we don’t have a better choice. Oftentimes, we just choose who we deem to be the lesser of two evils.

Isn’t it time for that to change? Don’t we deserve representatives in government who actually understand what it’s like to raise a family in 2017? Who then could possibly be better than a mom to go to Washington, DC, to represent us? We know that we can’t spend more money than we bring in. We know when we all work together, things get done. And we certainly know how to clean up a mess.

I’m running for Congress because I know the challenges we face, and I refuse to let one more moment go by without our government addressing them. I also know that our government is meant to be as diverse as the people it represents. We need more teachers, nurses, mechanics, carpenters, stay-at-home moms, and any other profession you can think of — to bring their background and their skill set to our nation’s capital. No longer should we feel as “ordinary” citizens that we are shut out of the political process.

One of my favorite quotes about being a mom is by the CEO of Vitamix, Jodi Berg. She asked the audience at a women’s leadership forum, “How many of you were ready to be a Mom before you became a Mom? Anyone? And yet you did it — the hardest job in the world […] So why worry about a job that’s not nearly as important as being a Mom?”

I’m more determined and “desperate” than ever to stand up for the people of Ohio’s 16th District. In fact, my opponent from that race is the favorite to land the Republican nomination — so I could potentially face him again in the general election. All I have to say to him or whomever emerges from that Republican Primary is BRING IT ON. I’ll gladly debate any one of them on the issues any day of the week. All I need is a chance, a platform to share our vision for this district and our country.

Moms: It’s time to get to work. We have a country to clean up.

Nichole Duff / N.D. Photography